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How to move to America: the main ways

The United States is a country whose main population was formed by immigrants. Representatives of all continents of the globe and all countries without exception live here. The mixture of races, ethnicities, traditions and religions gives a special flavour to the way of life and creates a peculiar American culture. The tolerant environment is one of the main reasons why people from other countries seek to move to America, where they can easily and quickly fit into society and become a full-fledged citizen of this country.

Many people are attracted to life in America because of the quality of life, medicine, pay, education, openness of society and much more. But before leaving for the USA, it is advisable to prepare for it thoroughly and choose the most suitable option for immigration. This is what we will look at in this article.

Required preparation before moving to the United States

In order to be prepared for the formalities involved in submitting the necessary documents to the official authorities to move to the United States, you need to make prior preparations.

Here’s what needs to be done:

  • Register a nine-digit Social Security number. This is the identification and social security number of an alien residing in the United States and is issued by the Social Security Administration. The application for a national insurance number must be submitted with your immigrant visa application to an American consulate;

  • Open a personal bank account. You will need it to pay your salary, utility bills and other bills.

To open an account, you must provide:

  • Personal data (name, surname, patronymic), residential address, contacts (phone number);

  • Passport, driving licence;

  • National insurance number or special taxpayer number;

  • A document proving your residential address (electricity bills, utility bills);

  • A bank cash deposit of $25 to $100.

Immigration to the USA: conditions for moving to the USA

There are plenty of options for staying long term in the US. Here are the most common ones:

  • Study. The invitation of the university is a strong argument that entitles you to get a visa. It gives a reason to come and stay in America for a long time. If the migration history during the stay in this country turns out to be flawless, you can become the owner of a document on a temporary residence permit in America.

  • Jobs. It is not difficult to get a job. The unemployment rate is lower than in many countries. You will need to apply for a special permit from the Federal Employment Service. This option is designed for skilled or rare professionals, as well as researchers with degrees recognised in the scientific world. Labour visas are issued on a point system and only those who accumulate the highest number of 30 points can get a job. When calculating these points, age, education, knowledge of the language of the host country and scientific achievements are taken into account.

What can you work in America without having a specialised higher education?

ProfessionsAverage income for the year ($)Features
Janitors and employees of cleaning companies25 000Always vacancies available, but minimal prestige.
Hotel workers: maids, dishwashers25 000Requirements: knowledge of the language at least at the elementary level, diligence.
Retail: salespeople26 000Routine work in small shops and hypermarkets.
Office staff30 000Sorting mail, editing documents, making copies.
Call centre staff33 400Receiving telephone calls, counselling visitors and customers.
Administrative staff, secretaries34 000There are a large number of vacancies, but wages are low.
  • Business. Entrepreneurs can get a visa to the USA for 1 year. It is required to open your own business in America, this will be the basis for obtaining a temporary residence permit. It will be necessary to submit a business project and open a bank account in the amount of at least $40,000.

  • Business objects. You can invest in property. Buy income-producing properties worth at least $500,000. In this case, the object for purchase is selected by the U.S. Department of Immigration. Quotas for this type are limited, no more than 3,000 applications are accepted. They are lifted only if more than $1,000,000 is invested in the property. Another condition is the employment of 10 or more natives of the country.

  • Investing in America’s economy. This is one of the most reliable ways to become a citizen of this country in the future. This way you can get a visa not only for yourself, but also for your whole family. This type of visa is limited by a quota of 10 thousand places. There are two types of investment visas: EB-5 and E-2.


This visa is issued for investment in your own company or state investment projects, as well as the creation of at least 10 jobs. After 5 years, it is possible to apply for American citizenship.


Non-immigrant visa, does not entitle to a residence permit or US citizenship. Investors have the right to live and conduct business activities in America. The applicant may purchase a ready-made business worth $100,000 or open a new one with the same value and personally participate in the business. Together with the investor, his family can come to the U.S., and minor children can receive an American education. Only citizens of states with which the U.S. has a treaty of commerce and navigation can apply for an E-2 visa. After the expiry date there is a possibility to extend the visa.

  • Reunification with close relatives. If your close relatives are already living in America, this will be the basis for issuing you a residence permit (a document that certifies your status as a permanent resident of the United States). There are certain procedures for accepting applications. Applications from children of U.S. citizens who have reached the age of majority and are not married or unmarried are considered first. There are certain quotas and the wait for permission to enter the country takes from several months to several years.

  • Marriage or marriage to a U.S. citizen or national. A fiancé or fiancée visa entitles you to marry. The marriage must take place within 90 days. A permanent residence permit is issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement only after the marriage is consummated. After two years, the permit can be reissued as a green card.

  • Refugee status. This status is granted to citizens of other countries who have requested political asylum. It is necessary to have documentary evidence that the applicant is oppressed by the authorities in his/her country. After a year, this category of people coming to the United States of America will receive a residence permit. With this document it is possible to get a job and leave the country for some time.

  • Lottery. You can get the right to live in America by taking part in a lottery where the prize is a green card (the basis for legal residence in the USA).

Green card: features and benefits

A green card is an identification card that confirms your status as a permanent resident of the United States. Those who get this document have the same rights as US citizens. A green card can be won in a lottery. It is valid for 10 years. After it expires, this document must be renewed. After the card is halfway through its validity, you can apply for U.S. citizenship.

Opportunities that a green card opens up:

  • Unrestricted exit and entry into the United States;

  • Social guarantees, unemployment benefits, benefits of higher education;

  • Getting a job and starting your own business;

  • Permission for family members to move to the United States.

  • 180 days per year to be within the territorial limits of the United States at all times;

  • Not to commit an offence;

  • Have no tax arrears to pay.

Immigrant visa to obtain a green card

Before obtaining a document of status (green card), relatives of U.S. citizens and residents, qualified professionals, potential investors and businessmen must obtain an immigrant visa. It must also be obtained if a foreign national changes his or her status, having previously resided in the country on a non-immigrant visa. You can also apply for a change of status in another country by contacting a U.S. consulate.

Basic requirements for an applicant to obtain an immigrant visa:

  • Income. You must have at least $5,000 in a bank account or stocks, bonds, real estate identical to the amount of the deposit. In other cases, a sponsor can be presented from among relatives, citizens who are residents of the United States and are willing to prove their financial solvency.

Required annual income of the sponsor of the immigrant visa applicant (by U.S. region)

Quantitative composition of the familyAlaska ($)Hawaii ($)Other US states and the District of Columbia ($)
2 people.$28 613$26 325$22 888
3 people.$35 988$33 113$28 788
4 people.$43 363$39 900$34 688
5 people.$50 738$46 688$40 588
  • Good Health. A medical examination by a doctor recommended by the U.S. Consulate is required. You must have a passport and certificates of vaccination against various diseases. The cost of the examination is $275. The results are valid for 180 days. During this time it is recommended to issue a visa and get to the USA.

Procedure for processing a US immigrant visa

DomesticallyOutside the United States
1Provide the reason for obtaining the visa.1Provide a reason for immigration.
2Make and file a form petition for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.2Write and file an immigration petition with the American consulate.
3Write an application by completing Form I-485.3Wait and see if your petition is accepted or not.
4Have the Application Support Centre verify that the information you submitted on your application is accurate.4Receive notification from the National Visa Centre.
5Interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.5Interview at the U.S. Consulate.
6Call the contact centre to find out the status of your application.6In case of changes (marriage, marriage, change of residence address), notify the National Visa Centre.
7If the decision is favourable, obtain a visa.7If the decision is favourable, obtain a visa and enter the United States.

Grounds for refusal to issue a visa

Many factors can be reasons for refusal. Let’s list the most common ones:

  • Incorrectly filled out application, incomplete list of required documents;

  • The applicant’s criminal history;

  • Insufficient financial security of the applicant;

  • Concealment of information when filling out visa application documents.


There are quite a few ways to emigrate to America. These are only some of the officially authorised options. You can find out about all the others by consulting our company’s specialists. Immigration lawyers of Imperial & Legal have enormous experience in the field of immigration to various countries of the world. They will find the most suitable option for you to obtain a visa or residence permit and will be ready to accompany you at all stages of immigration.

Is a residence permit issued to a foreigner enrolled in a university in America?

International students are allowed to apply for a green card or a card proving that he or she is a permanent resident of the United States.

Can I stay in the U.S. without a green card?

Yes, you can act as an investor and apply for an E-2 visa.

What happens if I stay in the U.S. after my visa expires?

There are many who remain living in the United States despite the expiration of their visa. A foreign national of another country whose visa has not been valid for more than a year will not be able to enter America for up to 3 years.

How much do I have to pay to enter the green card drawing?

Participation in the drawing is free of charge. It is enough to register on a special website and submit an application in full form.

Is it possible to open a business in the United States without citizenship?

Yes, there is that possibility. There are certain restrictions in some areas of America. You can find out about ways to open your own company by consulting with our company’s specialists. And it is better to do this before you leave for America.

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